John Bolton calls Jared Kushner 'the second-most powerful man in the White House'

The former national security adviser says Trump's son-in-law has 'enormous influence'

By Samuel Chamberlain | Fox News

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton told the "Fox News Rundown" podcast Thursday that he believes President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is "the second-most powerful man" in the administration.

"I think he has enormous influence and access to the president," Bolton told host Jessica Rosenthal. "And I think it's been demonstrated in the foreign policy field, the domestic policy field, a whole host of things. Sentencing reform was a big priority, although the Republican Party was itself deeply divided over that. In addition to working on the Middle East peace plan -- 'the deal of the century,' as the president called it -- being involved in the China trade negotiations, the NAFTA negotiations.

"So, you know, he's been involved in a range of things that I don't think is equaled by anybody else in the president's roles of advisers or cabinet members," added Bolton, the author of the recently published "The Room Where It Happened," an account of his time in the administration.

Bolton also declined to comment on reports he briefed Trump last year about intelligence that suggested Russian officials had offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants in Afghanistan in exchange for killing American soldiers.

"Given what the administration has tried to say about the book, I'm just not gonna give them another target," he told Rosenthal. "I will say that if the reports about the current intelligence are true -- and the White House has essentially admitted the intelligence is there -- but if those reports are true, I find this very, very serious ... this is a dramatic turn for the Russians and their behavior in Afghanistan. So I think it's important to take it seriously."

Bolton added that he was "dismayed" by what he called "the confusion of the White House reaction" to the initial report on the intelligence, which The New York Times published last week.

"It seems to evolve over time," he said. "That's not different from a lot of my own experience in the Trump White House. And I just think it sends a confusing signal both to our friends and our adversaries overseas."